Thursday, February 14, 2008

Good News, Good News

We've gotta home! Well, it's not worth living in (or on, for that matter) but it's still a home. Get ready, world. Football in the CNMI is going to improve quickly and we just might beat a FIFA team before you know it (I'm looking at you, Guam).

Read here from today's Saipan Tribune or just read below:
NMIFA finally finds a home

By Jon Perez

Gov. Benigno R. Fitial signs the agreement designating a land for the proposed Koblerville Football Stadium yesterday at the Governor's Office conference room on Capital Hill. (Jacqueline Hernandez) A state-of-the-art football facility will soon rise in southernmost village of Saipan after Gov. Benigno R. Fitial and Department of Public Lands Secretary John Del Rosario yesterday signed a land title transfer to the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs.

Present to witness the signing at the Governor's Office conference room in Capital Hill were Northern Mariana Islands Football Association officials led by president Jerry Tan, vice president Sue Knecht, secretary general Wes Bogdan, and treasurer Vicki Izuka as well as DCCA acting secretary Melvin O. Faisao.

The land in Koblerville, measuring, 8.4 hectares, will be for NMIFA's exclusive use as they begin a three-phase process of building a state-of-the-art football facility that will have bleachers, house two adult-size pitches, at least two youth-size fields, two futsal facilities, locker and shower rooms, and a building that will house the association's office and training center.

DCCA will be the custodian of the land as NMIFA and the government prepares a three-phase process of building the facility. “Football is becoming very popular on Saipan and we are excited about it. The government will do whatever it can to help in the construction of the [Koblerville football complex],” said Fitial.

“I met with [East Asian Football Federation] officials when they came to Saipan a few years ago and the interest is high to support us in football development.”

Fitial said China, Japan, and Korea represent the backbone of EAFF and a modern football facility in the CNMI would attract foreign teams to practice on Saipan. “It will attract international competition and it will enhance our economy.”

Tan said NMIFA will be working on a 10-year plan where their first thing to do is to raise $500,000 to begin the first phase of their three-phase plan. “We [NMIFA] will have to finalize with the EAFF of how we can get funding. We will immediately layout the groundwork.”

He said that phase one alone could take them from 18 to 24 months to finish. “Our next move is to put into action of the development of the property. We would begin with phase one immediately and once the groundwork is complete we will begin with phase two. It is a10-year master plan.

Tan said NMIFA will work closely with the Guam Football Association in the design of the Koblerville facility and consult them on what would be their next step.

NMIFA, in a letter to Fitial, requested the land proposing it would transform it to a modern football practice and game facility.

Fitial said his administration is supporting programs that would benefit the community. “Especially sports programs that will promote the health and well being of our people.”

He said that having the facility on island will make the CNMI attractive to other sports organizations that may need a training venue for their athletes or a facility for competitive games from the commonwealth's neighbors in the Asia-Pacific.

“As part of our commitment, the government will contribute $500,000 to NMIFA in support of the program envisioned by the association to construct, operate, and maintain the proposed Koblerville [Football] Stadium provided NMIFA will equally match the government's commitment towards this project.”